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First pick of NHL draft usually turns out to be a success

June 24, 2010 |  1:28 pm

It has been more than a decade since the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft has been anything short of a success. Patrik Stefan, chosen first by Atlanta in 1999 from the now-defunct Long Beach Ice Dogs, played only 455 NHL games and peaked at 14 goals in the 2003-04 season. A hip problem led him to retire early in the 2007-08 season, but he started a new career as a player agent and lives in Laguna Beach.

Overall No. 1 picks the last 10 years
2000: Rick DiPietro, G, N.Y. Islanders — Injuries have limited him to 13 games the last two seasons. But that 15-year, $67.5-million contract he signed in 2006 makes up for a lot.

Fabforum 2001: Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, Atlanta — Twice a 50-goal scorer with bad teams. He has 338 career goals in 621 games. The prize of this summer’s free agent chase.

2002: Rick Nash, LW, Columbus — He has surpassed 30 goals in five of his seven seasons with the Blue Jackets and played for Canada at the Vancouver Olympics.

2003: Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pittsburgh — He was one of the leaders in the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup run and is a franchise goaltender.

2004: Alexander Ovechkin, LW, Washington — He has led the NHL in goals twice, was voted the most valuable player twice and is the face of the Capitals. Has a nasty edge, too.

2005: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh — He has scored at least 100 points in four of his five NHL seasons and tied for the goal-scoring lead this season with 51, earning his first Maurice Richard trophy (given to the league's top goal-scorer). Yeah, he can play.

2006: Erik Johnson, D, St. Louis — Made a strong debut with the Blues in 2007-08 but missed the 2008-09 season after tearing up his knee in a golf-cart accident. Won silver with the U.S. at the Vancouver Olympics.

2007: Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago — Speedy winger had career bests with 30 goals and 88 points as the Blackhawks won the Cup. The darling of Hawks fans.

2008: Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay — Blossomed this season and scored 51 goals, sharing the league lead with Crosby. He was fifth in points, with 95.

2009: John Tavares, C, N.Y. Islanders — Scored 24 goals and 54 points and was named to the all-rookie team. Progressed as the season went on.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Sidney Crosby has scored at least 100 points in four of his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press